Dumfries & Galloway’s Castles & Countryside Host Environmental Arts Festival

Castle and its Countryside Host Festival Exploring Better Futures for Our World

Young people from across Dumfries and Galloway play key role in playful and intriguing free weekend of environmental art and ideas

The ruins of Morton Castle, and its fabulous surrounding countryside, will provide the spectacular backdrop for the 2015 Environmental Art Festival Scotland.
The festival, in Dumfries and Galloway, will be an intriguing and playful opportunity for artists to help change ideas and influence thinking about how we need to adapt and change in an era of climate change.
There will be a strong emphasis on youth with five interns playing a central role in organising and delivering the project, helping build a wider, younger audience to engage with environmental issues.
At the heart of the event will be a variety of specially commissioned artworks plus walks, fireside conversations, food art plus other activities to inspire the imagination.
Ruaridh Thin-Smith, one of the interns, said: “The festival will be really enjoyable and fun while addressing some of the most pressing issues of our age.
“EAFS is about getting young people to understand a simple truth – that whatever it might seem, we are in control of our own spaces, our places, our environment.
“If we can understand that we have the power to affect positive changes and make our planet a better place to live, then we can accomplish anything.
“The festival is a celebration of the natural energies and sources of vitality which allow life to flourish – and what better way to celebrate life than to live as young people making a commitment to healing our planet.
“Let’s join the digital detox, and learn how to unplug from the status-quo grid and recharge our relationship with the Earth.”
The other interns, all from Dumfries and Galloway which is home to EAFS, are Meredith Langley Vine, Katie Anderson, Daniel Leigh and Kerry Annison. The EAFS youth project, which involves a wider group of young people as well as the interns, is funded by the Holywood Trust.
Over the last year the EAFS team has been developing the ethos for a thoughtful and playful festival for 2015. This is reflected in the central themes of “inventiveness, foolishness and generosity as a way of understanding the world”.
It aims to attract visitors from all over Scotland, and beyond, and will bring together people who work with the land, scientists, artists, environmentalists, cultural thinkers, poets and performers to participate in the festival.
Jan Hogarth, a co-curator of EAFS, said: “The castle and its amazing landscape are a brilliant place for an environmental art event which is all about our changing relationship with the environment.

“We are expecting lots of interest from all over the region and the country as a whole in the event, and we are delighted to be working with our team of five interns. They are bringing a huge vitality and a fresh perspective to EAFS.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Holywood Trust and their recognition of the need to engage young people in the arts and landscape.”
The art installations themselves are being kept under wraps to make sure there are lots of surprises – but one thing audiences can be sure of is that there will be plenty of hospitality and a real sense of togetherness.
The wider environmental art community is already highly engaged with the EAFS team. A future thinking event in January was attended by 50 Scottish and international artists from the cutting edge of practice. This helped shape the ideas, themes and content for the festival.
One of the great attractions is that EAFS takes place within the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve. This was set up as a conservation measure covering around 5,300 square kilometres.

Dumfries and Galloway has a growing reputation for environmental art and visitors will be encouraged to go out further into the biosphere and explore attractions like Andy Goldsworthy’s Striding Arches, Dalziel and Scullion’s Rosnes Benches and Charles Jenck’s Crawick Multiverse Artland.

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